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This Month in the Vietnam War: October 1964 -1974


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October 14, 1964 - Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev is ousted from power, replaced by Leonid Brezhnev as leader of the U.S.S.R.


October 16, 1964 - China tests its first Atomic Bomb. China, by this time, has also massed troops along its border with Vietnam, responding to U.S. escalation.

 

UrsulaAndress1.jpgUrsula Andress

 

October 16, 1965 - Anti-war rallies occur in 40 American cities and in international cities including London and Rome.

 

October 19, 1965 - North Vietnamese Army troops attack the U.S. Special Forces camp at Plei Me in a prelude to the Battle of Ia Drang Valley in South Vietnam's Central Highlands.

 

October 30, 1965 - 25,000 march in Washington in support of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The marchers are led by five Medal of Honor recipients.

 

Aust-Centurion-Tank.jpgAustralian Centurion Tank

 

October 2-24, 1966 - The U.S. 1st Air Cavalry Division conducts Operation Irving to clear NVA from mountainous areas near Qui Nhon.

 

October 3, 1966 - The Soviet Union announces it will provide military and economic assistance to North Vietnam.

 

October 25, 1966 - President Johnson conducts a conference in Manila with America's Vietnam Allies; Australia, Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand, South Korea and South Vietnam. The Allies pledge to withdraw from Vietnam within six months if North Vietnam will withdraw completely from the South.

 

October 26, 1966 - President Johnson visits U.S. troops at Cam Ranh Bay. This is the first of two visits to Vietnam made during his presidency.

 

UrsulaAndress2.jpgUrsula Andress

 

October 1967 - A public opinion poll indicates 46 percent of Americans now believe U.S. military involvement in Vietnam to be a "mistake." However, most Americans also believe that the U.S. should "win or get out" of Vietnam. Also in October, Life magazine renounces its earlier support of President Johnson's war policies.

 

October 5, 1967 - Hanoi accuses the U.S. of hitting a school in North Vietnam with anti-personnel bombs.

 

October 21-23 - 'March on the Pentagon' draws 55,000 protesters. In London, protesters try to storm the U.S. embassy.

 

October 31, 1967 - President Johnson reaffirms his commitment to maintain U.S. involvement in South Vietnam.

 

Corpsman-1966.jpgCorpsman - 1966

 

October 1968 - Operation Sealord begins the largest combined naval operation of the entire war as over 1200 U.S. Navy and South Vietnamese Navy gunboats and warships target NVA supply lines extending from Cambodia into the Mekong Delta. NVA supply camps in the Delta and along other waterways are also successfully disrupted during the two-year operation.

 

October 21, 1968 - The U.S. releases 14 North Vietnamese POWs.

 

October 27, 1968 - In London, 50,000 protest the war.

 

October 31, 1968 - Operation Rolling Thunder ends as President Johnson announces a complete halt of U.S. bombing of North Vietnam in the hope of restarting the peace talks. Throughout the three and a half year bombing campaign, the U.S. dropped a million tons of bombs on North Vietnam, the equivalent of 800 tons per day, with little actual success in halting the flow of soldiers and supplies into the South or in damaging North Vietnamese morale. In fact, the opposite has occurred as the North Vietnamese have patriotically rallied around their Communist leaders as a result of the onslaught. By now, many towns south of Hanoi have been leveled with a U.S. estimate of 52,000 civilian deaths. During Rolling Thunder, North Vietnam's sophisticated, Soviet-supplied air defense system managed to shoot down 922 U.S. aircraft during 2380 sorties flown by B-52 bombers and over 300,000 sorties by U.S. Navy and Air Force fighter-bombers.

 

UrsulaAndress3.jpgUrsula Andress

 

October 1969 - An opinion poll indicates 71 percent of Americans approve of President Nixon's Vietnam policy.

 

October 15, 1969 - The 'Moratorium' peace demonstration is held in Washington and several U.S. cities. Demonstration organizers had received praises from North Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Van Dong, who stated in a letter to them "...may your fall offensive succeed splendidly," marking the first time Hanoi publicly acknowledged the American anti-war movement. Dong's comments infuriate American conservatives including Vice President Spiro Agnew who lambastes the protesters as Communist "dupes" comprised of "an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals."

 

General-Dynamics-F-111-Aardvark.jpgGeneral Dynamics F-111 Aardvark

 

October 7, 1970 - During a TV speech, President Nixon proposes a "standstill" cease-fire in which all troops would stop shooting and remain in place pending a formal peace agreement. Hanoi does not respond.

 

October 24, 1970 - South Vietnamese troops begin a new offensive into Cambodia.

 

UrsulaAndress4.jpgUrsula Andress

 

October 3, 1971 - Running un-opposed, President Thieu of South Vietnam is re-elected.

 

October 9, 1971 - Members of the U.S. 1st Air Cavalry Division refuse an assignment to go out on patrol by expressing "a desire not to go." This is one in a series of American ground troops engaging in "combat refusal."

 

October 31, 1971 - The first Viet Cong POWs are released by Saigon. There are nearly 3000 Viet Cong prisoners.

 

Hospital-Ship-USS-Repose.jpgHospital Ship - USS Repose

 

October 8, 1972 - The long-standing diplomatic stalemate between Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho finally ends as both sides agree to major concessions. The U.S. will allow North Vietnamese troops already in South Vietnam to remain there, while North Vietnam drops its demand for the removal of South Vietnam's President Thieu and the dissolution of his government. Although Kissinger's staff members privately express concerns over allowing NVA troops to remain in the South, Kissinger rebuffs them, saying, "I want to end this war before the election."

 

October 22, 1972 - In Saigon, Kissinger visits President Thieu to discuss the peace proposal. Meetings between Kissinger and Thieu go badly as an emotional Thieu adamantly opposes allowing North Vietnamese troops to remain indefinitely in South Vietnam. An angry Kissinger reports Thieu's reaction to President Nixon, who then threatens Thieu with a total cut-off of all American aid. But Thieu does not back down. Kissinger then returns to Washington.

 

October 22, 1972 - Operation Linebacker I ends. U.S. warplanes flew 40,000 sorties and dropped over 125,000 tons of bombs during the bombing campaign which effectively disrupted North Vietnam's Eastertide Offensive. During the failed offensive, the North suffered an estimated 100,000 military casualties and lost half its tanks and artillery. Leader of the offensive, legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap, the victor at Dien Bien Phu, was then quietly ousted in favor of his deputy Gen. Van Tien Dung. 40,000 South Vietnamese soldiers died stopping the offensive, in the heaviest fighting of the entire war.

 

October 24, 1972 - President Thieu publicly denounces Kissinger's peace proposal.

 

October 26, 1972 - Radio Hanoi reveals terms of the peace proposal and accuses the U.S. of attempting to sabotage the settlement. At the White House, now a week before the presidential election, Henry Kissinger holds a press briefing and declares "We believe that peace is at hand. We believe that an agreement is in sight."

 

UrsulaAndress5.jpgUrsula Andress

 

October 10, 1973 - Political scandal results in the resignation of Vice President Spiro T. Agnew. He is replaced by Congressman Gerald R. Ford.

 

Paratroopers-Mekong-Delta-1969.jpgParatroopers - Mekong Delta - 1969

 

October 1974 - The Politburo in North Vietnam decides to launch an invasion of South Vietnam in 1975.

 

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